Scripture: 1 John 4.7-8
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Reflection: Realizing the Power of Love
By John Tillman
It is not too often that the full text of a sermon will be printed in the New York Times. But at culturally significant moments sometimes the Good News is deemed news “fit to print.”
This past weekend’s sermon by Bishop Michael Curry at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was one such moment. Among many scriptures on love which he referenced, Bishop Curry expanded on 1 John 4, which we read today.
The New Testament says it this way, “beloved, let us love one another because love is of God and those who love are born of God and know God, those who do not love do not know God.” Why? For God is love. There’s power in love. There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show us the way to live.
Bishop Curry, did not merely address the power of love for a young couple in marriage, but the power of love as a force for changing the world for the better:
Jesus began the most revolutionary movement in all of human history, a movement grounded in the unconditional love of God for the world. A movement mandating people to live that love. And in so doing, to change not only their lives but the very life of the world itself.
I’m talking about some power, real power. Power to change the world. If you don’t believe me, well, there were some old slaves in America’s antebellum south who explained the dynamic power of love and why it has the power to transform. They explained it this way. They sang a spiritual, even in the midst of their captivity, it’s one that says there’s a balm in Gilead. A healing balm, something that can makes things right.
There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul. One of the stanzas actually explains why: they said, If you cannot preach like Peter and you cannot pray like Paul, you just tell the love of Jesus how he died to save us all.
The Balm of Gilead and the healing it brings is not only across the Jordan. It’s here now. Available to us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
As John writes, “In this world, we are like Jesus.” The selflessness of God’s love in us, and the actions that should flourish from it have the power, with the Holy Spirit, to change our world.
Think and imagine a world where love is the way. Imagine our homes and families when love is the way. Imagine neighborhoods and communities where love is the way. Imagine governments and nations where love is the way. Imagine business and commerce when love is the way. Imagine this tired old world when love is the way, unselfish, sacrificial redemptive.
Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. — Matthew 5.6
– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.